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Holocaust commemoration not for hatred, but for avoiding similar calamities: Auschwitz survivors

The international commemoration to honor victims in the Holocaust aims to avoid similar calamities in the future, instead of reigniting the flame of hatred, survivors of the Auschwitz death camp have said.

"I'm the one who experienced it, a witness," Branko Lustig, a prominent Croatian film producer, told Xinhua in an interview on the eve of the International Holocaust Memorial Day, which falls on Tuesday.

Historians estimated that between 1.1 million and 1.5 million people were deported from Europe to Auschwitz from 1940 to 1945, and the overwhelming majority of them died in the camp.

The victims were mainly Jews from around Europe, Gypsies, Poles and Soviet Union prisoners of war.

When the Soviet army liberated the camp on Jan. 27, 1945, they found about 7,000 survivors, including Lustig and some other 130 children.

Most members of his Jewish family, including his grandfather and father, were killed in Auschwitz during World War II. On the day of the camp's liberation, he weighed less than 30 kg.

On Tuesday, he was expected to join a Croatian delegation to participate in celebrations in Poland marking the 70th anniversary of the camp's liberation.

For 83-year-old Lustig, who produced the Oscar-winning movie Schindler's List, it would not be an easy journey to return to the place where he spent his miserable childhood and lost many family members.

However, the veteran film-maker said, he eventually decided to go to Poland as he did not want the Holocaust to be forgotten nowadays, especially when the Fascism is still haunting in some countries.

The world commemorated the day in order not to allow history to be repeated, he added.

Boris Brown, also a member of the Croatian delegation, recalled his nightmarish experience 70 years ago when he and his parents were sent to the camp.

"When the train came to a stop, my father and mother were immediately taken away. This was the last time for me to see them," the 95-year-old said in a choked voice.

After the war ended, he learned that his parents were killed in a gas chamber when they arrived Auschwitz.

Brown rolled up his sleeve to reveal the number "120598" on the left arm, saying nobody can deny the history.

"It's my number at the concentration camp, a historical evidence," he said.

He noted that during his trip in Poland, he will tell people about his unforgettable memories.

Younger generations should learn from the history so as to avoid repeating the nightmare again, Brown said.

[Source: Xinhua, Zagreb, 27Jan15]

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